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Patrons make use of public-access computers in one of two vaulted-ceiling rooms within the Athens Clarke County Public Library as seen on Oct. 29, 2018 in Athens, Georgia. This room is located on the upper floor and is open to the public. (Photo/Julian Alexander)

The University of Georgia saw a need for a new undergraduate degree, so it filled that void.

Approved at the September meeting of the Board of Regents, the Franklin College of Arts and Sciences is offering a new undergraduate degree in data science, making UGA the only campus in the University System of Georgia to offer such a degree.

In this program, students will learn about the interface of statistics and computer science “to meet the rapidly growing demand for data scientists,” according to a UGA press release.

According to a 2016 Report by McKinsey on Big Data, the U.S. economy could be short 250,000 data scientists by 2024. To help combat this, the university found a solution.

“The new undergraduate data science degree will help fill this void by preparing students for jobs in a variety of fields,” said T.N. Sriram, professor and head of the department of statistics, in the press release.

Such fields include technology companies such as Google, Amazon, IBM, Intel and Samsung, finance and insurance firms such as Goldman Sachs, AIG, Liberty Mutual and other sectors.

The first cohort of students will begin the degree in fall 2019.

“Faculty members in computer science and statistics have spent more than a year envisioning, planning and designing the new degree,” said professor Thiab Taha, head of the department of computer science, in the press release. “This new interdisciplinary major will uniquely position UGA to become a leader in training and mentoring future generations of data scientists.”

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